Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Yoga Therapy: How to Remain True to the Tradition while being open to creative new ideas?

1. The techniques of yoga therapy come mainly from the yoga tradition, but this tradition is changing and expanding rapidly in the West. How can you as a yoga teacher and therapist remain true to the tradition while still being open to creative new ideas?

I will answer this question in a very personal way.  What brought me to yoga was a bad knee injury that caused me a great amount of pain.  I had knee surgery in 2000.  During the surgery I had a patella release and two meniscii trimmed.  The doctor said the patella release was what would be the hardest to recover from.

And recovery was brutal.  I felt much worse after the surgery than before. I tried lots of healing modalities in my quest to get out of pain: acupuncture, Pilates, herbs, supplements, and hatha yoga. But, it wasn't until I started doing Bikram Yoga in 2004 that I found relief.  I moved away from my Bikram Practice in 2012 and now I find myself moving back toward it again with the discovery of the Ghosh Lineage.

Lineage and tradition are things that I am beginning to really value for myself in Yoga.  I studied Satyananda Yoga Nidra instead if Irest or other systems because I wanted to go back to the source, And when I can, I want to go back to a brown source.  This is me. This is what important to me as a non-white practitioner of Yoga in the West.

I spent a lot of time at Kripalu this spring listening to doctors try to prove or disprove yoga but what spoke most to be was the ancient tradition, the ancient knowledge, not the proof of the knowledge.  My body is my proof of the benefits of yoga.  Dr. Ananda was the perfect blend for me of ancient and modern.  He is a medical doctor but he is a part of a tradition.

The first question is "how to remain true to the tradition. . . "  I think to remain true to the tradition you have to have a tradition.  I am now accepting in myself my tradition is the Ghosh Lineage.  That means my teachers are Paramanhansa Yogananda, Bisnu Ghosh,Swami Kuvalayanda, Francesca Asumah and the reviled Bikram himself.  I have taken his class many times and studied exclusively at his world headquarters for 8 years.  It's who I am it's how I got ease in my suffering.

I don't condone Bikram.  I won't have anything more to do with him or his name.  I. myself, have been raped. I can't be at ease with just saying bad man good yoga.

Another part of being true to the tradition is studying and practicing the tradition. After being at Kripalu I promised myself that I will go to Calcutta some day soon and study at the Ghosh Yoga College and learn more.  And one day I will do 26 x 2  training with someone I believe in like Francesca Asumah.

I also have done some training at Ananda Ashram which I also consider with Self-Realization fellowship to be an important part of the lineage.  I will continue to explore what these organizations have to offer.  I may one day do the correspondence course on meditiation that Parmahansa Yogananda made famous many years ago.

So this is how I remain true to the tradition: I study the tradition, I practice the tradition, and I explore the branches and leaves of the tradition and relate it to myself and what I feel comfortable with and believe in.

How do I remain open to creative new ideas.  I do this by reading, listening and taking workshops inside or outside of yoga.  I listen to my intuition about what I need.   The ideas that are really interesting to right  now are.  I am not sure how much or when I will be able to study everything I am interested in, but, I like listing them and thinking about them.

finishing 800 IYT Training

Lee Albert's - Positional Yoga Therapy

The Gokhale Method

Coherent Breathing - practicing with recording

Yoga Tune Up Balls - taking a one day working in September

Life Force Yoga - will do in November

anything by Nischala Joy Devi

further training on Yoga Nidra at the Himalayan Insitute, Level 2 Yoga Nidra Training and/or Dream Yoga in Tibetan Tradition

Spiritual Counseling Training at Ananda Ashram - taking a 5 day training in October

Ghosh College of India Yoga Therapy Training in Calcutta

Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education - on the waiting list for this years program, guaranteed place for next year's programe

Trauma-Informed Expressive Art Therapy

I am reading Bessel Van Der Kolk and will continue to read and follow up on the things that I was exposed to at Kripalu, the Ancient Yoga Center, Abundant Well being, and Lalita Sanctuary with the 400 plus hours of therapeutic yoga training I did this spring.

Right now, I don't see a contradiction between the tradition and creative new ideas because I see the tradition as creative and new even though it is ancient wisdom.  I guess it's new because it's new for me.  Having so much access to ancient secret and sometimes male only practices is very creative new and I hope I can make these practices my own and use them to help myself and others.

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